Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rubbish day

Here we see the Delightful Miss E posing with our rubbish before rubbish day. Matsue is famous for having the strictest rubbish rules in Japan, where you have to sort everything into its component parts. As a foreign student commencing at Shimane University I was taken to the rubbish processing plant, and I am therefore the proud bearer of all information one can know about Matsue rubbish. I am therefore qualified to inform my readers of all the contents of our rubbish separation system:

  1. nearest the camera, magazines, which go out twice a month as "resource refuse"
  2. just above the magazines to the right, cardboard cartons. These go out with the magazines, but in truth we haven't thrown these out in a while, so they have been piling up. Ultimately we will wipe our arses on these
  3. Just above the cardboard cartons in line with the camera, a bag of tins and a bag of bottles (clear plastic bags). These don't go out in our rubbish area; instead we have to dispose of them at the nearest disposal area, fortunately for us across the road
  4. left of the bottles, just under our dinky little oven, 2 piles of newspapers, which also go out twice a month as resource refuse (there are more behind the Delightful Miss E - we discovered these buried on the balcony)
  5. at Miss E's feet, between her and the tins, are PET bottles, which need to be taken to a disposal centre. We don't use many of these, keeping most as reusable water bottles, so these go out very rarely. They become clothes and twine
  6. To the right of the PET bottles, cardboard boxes, which go out as resource refuse twice a month
  7. to the right of the Delightful Miss E and just past her daintily extended leg is a rubbish bin full of cardboard containers. These go out twice a month, at a different time to resource refuse for some reason. I don't know what they become
  8. In the Delightful Miss E's right hand, a bag of polystyrene containers which also have to be taken across the road. These are reused by the supermarket.
  9. Not shown: burnable and non-burnable rubbish, which is just out of sight on the right of the camera, and the only rubbish in our kitchen which is not recycled. We throw out one bag of non-burnable rubbish every 3-6 months, and one half-empty bag of burnable rubbish every week. Burnable rubbish is food scraps; non-burnable rubbish is razors, CDs, broken glass and wierd stuff. We also have a little box of batteries under the sink, which we can hand in at the camera shop.
In total I would say probably 5-10% of the volume of rubbish we create is not recycled. Of that, a good 90% is just food scraps and loose paper, and is burnt. That could probably be further divided into compost and non-compost; but I should not say that in case the city office get ideas. Proper recycling is an extremely painful and annoying task, but I can safely say that having done it I think that it is very feasible. I also think that any city waste disposal system which doesn't make you separate your rubbish is probably not actually recycling. Food for thought for Sydneysiders reading this...


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